Nine days of sensational music in Nelson

26 February 2019 / News

Many of those who attended the 2019 Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson earlier this month have left wondering if it’s possible for such an event to get any better. Exhilarating and inspiring performances came from the best of New Zealand’s chamber and solo musicians. Included in this year's Festival programme alongside us were musicians Douglas Mews, Wilma Smith, Rob Thorne, and Jian Liu, plus international guests The Jerusalem Quartet, pianists Dénes Várjon and Izabella Simon, and violinists Anthony Marwood and Nikki Chooi.

Adam Chamber 2 696x465

Photo: Kate Russell, Nelson Weekly

Finale concert 5

Helene and Gillian, Adam Chamber Music Festival Co-Artistic Directors

The musicians participating in the 2019 Festival collaborated closely with each other. Concerts ranged from the best of 19th-century chamber music works – such as both of Brahms’ String Quintets – to the folk-sounds and tangos of Australian-based accordionist James Crabb, and the violin trios of New Zealand composers Anthony Ritchie, Leonie Holmes, and Alex Taylor. If you missed it, you can hear James Crabb chatting to Radio NZ’s Kim Hill about his career as an accordion virtuoso and specialist on the music of Astor Piazzolla here. On Waitangi Day, a special ‘In Conversation’ event brought together instrument makers, performers, and composers to share their journeys in discovering and continuing traditional Māori music, followed by a performance of Te Ao Hou | This New World featuring us with taonga pūoro musician Rob Thorne.

Jerusalem Quartet and Gill In Conversation

The Jerusalem Quartet and Gillian with their 'pop-star mics' during In Conversation

Te Ao Hou Elizabeth Kerr

Dame Gillian Whitehead addresses the audience after we performed Puhake ki te rangi with Rob Thorne (Photo: Elizabeth Kerr) 

Helene and Gillian are the Festival’s co-artistic directors and, in addition to their many concert performances, hosted discussion sessions on the composer Béla Bartók and with the Jerusalem Quartet. Monique and Rolf also appeared outside our usual line-up, performing as soloists and forming ensembles with other Festival artists. The Adam Troubadours, an intern quartet mentored by the NZSQ, took the Festival to the community, playing in the streets and galleries of Nelson. Look out for them on their Chamber Music New Zealand tour later this year.

Adam Troubadours

Adam Troubadours performing at The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatu

Post Grand Opening concert Nikki Sam Jacobs Monique

Post-concert with Michael Hill International Violin Competition winner Nikki Chooi, Monique, and NZSO's Sam Jacobs

Our friends at Radio New Zealand recorded concerts throughout the Festival. You can catch-up on events via their website - we recommend listening (and re-listening!) to the Jerusalem Quartet and Gillian Ansell in Brahms' String Quintet No. 2 and Sam Jacobs, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Horn, performing Mozart’s String Quintet in Eb with us in the Festival’s Grand Opening Concert. We also caught up with 1 News Now which ran a special feature on Gillian's 400-year-old Amati viola and the other instruments and musicians performing during the Festival. You can re-watch and read more from TVNZ here.

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